Page 5 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 4, 1985
Experts question value of vitamin supplements
By KYSA CONNETT
Health officials and health store
employees disagree over the value of
vitamin and mineral supplements as
a means of maintaining good health.
Professors from the University's
School of Public Health questioned the
value of such supplements, saying
that a well-balanced diet is the key to
health. However, an employee of the
General Nutrition Center in Briar-
wood said she believes vitamins are a
way of making up for poor eating
DR. JOEL Grinker, director of
human nutrition for the School of
Public Health, said she doesn't "see
any reason why someone with a good
diet needs to take a supplement."
."Most people don't need them
(vitamin supplements)," she said.
"Moderate level vitamins can't hurt
anybody, and I guess you could say
it's not a bad idea," Grinker said,
"but I'm not saying that it's
necessarily a good idea either. I really
think the emphasis should be put on
eating a balanced diet."
But Linda DeeVee, an employee for
the General Nutrition Center, said she
believes that because of the high
number of processed foods on the
grocery store shelves, Americans,
and college students in particular, are
not getting the proper vitamins and
minerals from the foods they consume.
"I THINK we need them," she said.
"Most of the foods we eat today are so
nutritionally poor - processed. It's
almost impossible to get what we
"In addition, some people just don't
take the time to eat well," she con-
tinued. "They rely on fast food."
"I know how students eat - I was
one once. Being a student, I wish I
would have taken vitamins then. It's
very stressful, and vitamins can help
you deal with the stress."
But Dr. Alen Tsai, an associate
professor in the School of Public
Health, in addition to Grinker, said
there is no way for vitamin and
mineral supplments to replace eating
a balanced diet. He said researchers
do not know enough about the com-
position of food to be able to duplicate
"IF YOU try to rely on a (vitamin
or mineral) supplement, 'thenyouare
assuming that you know what your
'If you try to rely on a (vitamin) supplement .. .
you can create a deficiency the wouldn't be there if
you didn't try to rely on a supplement.'
-Dr. Alen Tsai, School of Public
Health associate professor
Taking higher than normal amounts
of C and E can in fact have an un-
desirable effect, said Tsai. "The more
you take, the more your body uses,
and then if you stop taking it you can
develop a deficiency easier than
someone who had not been taking
large amounts of the vitamin."
DeeVee takes vitamins every day.
"I tend to go by what's going on in my
life. If I get flus or colds I take extra
B, C and Zinc. I also take extra if I'm
feeling a lot of stress," she said. "I try
to take at least 1000 mg of C a day."
The amount of the vitamin C that
Tsai considers desirable to take a day
is only 100 mg.
Much publicity has been given to
calcium supplements recently.
Calcium is a mineral, not a vitamin.
Osteoporosis, a condition related to a
lack of calcium intake, involves the
loss of bone tissue and can lead to
fractures of many bones. Women are
especially susceptible - 30 percent
over age 60 develop it, Grinker said.
In this case, calcium supplements
might be important for older women,
but Grinker said that " . . . 18-to-21-
year-olds don't need to worry about
these sort of things."
She added: "Getting calcium from
milk is the best way to get it, and if
you want to know the cheapest way,
just take Tumms (antacid)."
body needs - and no one can know
everything there is to know," Tsai
said. "You can create a deficiency
that wouldn't be there if you didn't try
to rely on a supplement."
"Food can give you all the items
you need," Tsai continued. "You have
to try and mix the food, and try to eat
as many kinds (of food) as you can."
If a person consumes too much of
one vitamin, such as A or D, then 'it
can have a toxic effect, Tsai said. "At
high levels, some vitamins can act as
a drug. .. people take large amounts
as a precaution sometimes. They
figure that more is better, but this is
not always true."
After two time Nobel Prize winner
Dr. Linus Pauling released his book
Vitamin C and the Common Cold,
many people began taking large doses
of it daily to try and prevent and com-
bat colds. "There just isn't very good
scientific evidence supporting his fin-
dings," said Grinker.
TSAR RECENTLY did a study com-
paring people who received normal
amounts of the vitamins C and E with
a group of people who received a
higher amount than normal. He found
that the people who received high
amounts of vitamin E and C did not
show any benefits from them. He
tested things such as alertness,
productivity, and the ability to com-
bat a common cold.
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By ANNIE WEST
For Susan, it started with sinusitis,
aches, and a fever. Then bronchitis
set in, bringing on chills, severe back
pain, fatigue, and a hacking cough.
Currently she is suffering from the flu
and excessive fatigue.
Susan, who asked that her real
name not be used, said doctors have
given her over 20 tests, including
blood tests, kidney stones tests, and
tests for mononucleosis. But they still
cannot determine exactly what she
has contracted, simply calling it
something similar to mono.
ALTHOUGH University Health
Service officials say they haven't
received any cases of a mono-like
illness, several University students
with symptoms similar to Susan's say
their family doctors have diagnosed
them with this ailment.
Dr. Mark Zervous of the infectious
diseases department within the
University's Department of Internal
Medicine, said similar symptoms
'My illness inhibits my personal freedom to such an
extent that I cannot even walk a block without
worrying and becoming fatigued.'
-Susan, victim of mono-like illness
could be caused by one of the several
types of flu prevalent in Ann Arbor
this year - parainfluenza. Although
he said it may not be the same illness.
Parainfluenza is a respiratory virus
which causes cold symptoms, such as
upper respiratory, sinus congestion,
sore throat, body aches, and fever. It
usually lasts five to seven days, but it
can reappear if the proper rest and
care are not followed to eradicate it
completely, Zervous said.
Many college students have dif-
ficulty recovering from the flu
because they do not allow themselves
enough rest, and they continue their
daily functions as if nothing were
wrong, he said.
WHEN THEY refuse to slow down,
they may suffer from continual
fatigue, Zervous said, and in extreme
cases might even fall victims to a
lingering course of illness which
sometimes resembles mono - an in-
fection which also causes fatigue.
Zervous defines this type of flu as
'a number of different diseases which
infect an individual either
simultaneously or sequentially." As a
result, he said, the body's defenses
are weakened and are then less able
to overcome the invading viruses.
In many cases, this type of flu
begins: as sinusitis, accompanied by
swollen glands, fever, and body
aches. It then develops into bronchitis.
Susan, an LSA senior, said she has
been sick with a similar illness for lit-
tle over two months. She said the
sickness has completely altered her
ability to function on a daily basis,
being physically unable to attend
classes and forced to give up her job.
"My illness inhibits my personal
freedom to such an extent that I can-
not even walk a block without
worrying and becoming fatigued,"
Although Zervous said that this
particular flu that parallels mono is
rather uncommon, he said the treat-
ment for it is simple: Get lots of rest
and take proper care of yourself (i.e.
eat properly) to insure a more rapid
FDA may delay artificial heart implants
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WASHINGTON (UPI) - A Food
and Drug Administration advisory
group is considering whether to ask
Dr. William DeVries to delay three
more artificial heart implants the
agency earlier authorized, a panel
DeVries, based at the Humana
Heart Institute of Louisville, Ky., is
the only U.S. surgeon licensed to im-
plant permanent artificial blood
pumps in humans. Seven Jarvik-7
hearts have been implanted since late
1982 and most of the recipients have
suffered strokes blamed on blood
clots from the devices.
TWO OF the four U.S. patients to
receive the artificial hearts on a per-
manent basis are still alive but both
are disabled to some extent by stroke
complications. A patient who received
a Jarvik-7 in Sweden died.
Jarvik 7 hearts were also implanted
in two other patients until permanent
natural hearts could be found.
Dr. Charles McIntosh, advisory
board chairman, said Monday the
panel wil meet Dec. 20 to review all
available data on the artificial heart
and figure out how to eliminate some
of the complications. DeVries was ex-
pected to testify, he said.
"We're not at this time saying they
ought to generate a new heart, or the
current heart is not safe and effec-
tive," McIntosh said. "This is not to
decide whether the program is to go
ahead or not."
HOWEVER, one of the questions
raised will be whether to impose a
temporary moratorium on artificial
heart implants until ways to minimize
complications are developed, he said.
McIntosh, an attending cardiac
surgeon at the National Heart, Lung
and Blood Institute, said the panel will
send its recommendations to the FDA
commissioner, who will decide what
action to take.
The Boston Globe reported that Dr.
Abhi Acharya, acting director of the
FDA's dvision of cardiovascular
devices, said the advisers would be
£ asked if DeVries should be permitted
known adverse results."
FDA spokesman David Duarte said
the FDA advisory panel, which
requested the Dec. 20 meeting, is
made up of non-government
physicians and scientists specializing
in cardiovascular issues.
Donna Hazle, a spokeswoman for
DeVries and Humana Hospital
Audubon in Louisville, said DeVries
would withhold comment until
hearing directly from the agency.
The surviving Jarvik-7 recipients
are William Schroeder, who has been
disabled by a series of strokes and
Murray Haydon, who requires a
respirator to aid his breathing most of
the time. Both are hospitalized at
Humana Hospital Audubon.
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